Last Thursday evening I was lucky enough to score a plus one invite to Brisbane’s first “Instameet” at The Chelsea Bistro in Paddington. The dinner saw bloggers and instagrammers come together for a wonderful evening of food, food discussions, food appreciation and food photography (where iPhone usage and screen stare was expected and not frowned upon and there were no judgements for taking photos of your food…also everyone waited until we had all gotten our shots and were happy before tucking in #foundmytribe!).
The evening began with wine (or in my case a lovely mocktail which was accommodatingly made for me) and a selection of entrees and starters for us to share.
The first to arrive were the thick cut Herbed Polenta Chips and red pepper relish with huge shards of sea salt glistening on top of the crunchy outer layer – like shining beacons of lip-smacking goodness – along with the Mushroom Arancini with caramelised onion aioli and finally slices of Jocelyn’s sourdough with pickled vegetables (the red cabbage was unbelievably good, not too sweet or sour) which came with a beautiful quenelle of creamy barramundi Brandade, which texturally, was just like an incredible potato/seafood pate!
For mains everyone at our table selected something different – I chose the “Light Meals” option of Tarragon Poached Chicken salad with a herb vinaigrette (I still had Tarragon on the brain from Easter!) whilst the others selected the Wagyu rump with broccoli puree and wild mushroom ragu, Chicken breast with braised cabbage and tarragon dressing and the Confit Pork Belly with celeriac remoulade and apple from the “Mains”.
After meeting and catching up with everyone and sharing/discussing/debating our latest ‘tries’ the mains arrived. My Tarragon Chicken salad was simple but incredibly flavoursome with sweet capsicum slivers, crunchy red, green and yellow heirloom tomatoes and the bite of bitterness from the rocket to counterbalance. Drizzled with crisp olive oil through out it was like eating a fresh bowl of Mediterranean goodness and I could have just as easily been sitting on the Italian coast! However, I confess I did have MASSIVE food envy over the Wagyu. Seriously, WOW, what a dish.
Cooked to medium-rare perfection the juices from the rump steak were unbelievable and the mushroom ragu was faultless. It was rich and hearty but only by way of flavour – it could easily be polished off for lunch without you falling into a food coma. Mixed with the broccoli puree each mouthful catapulted me to foodtopia (although I only managed to score a few…thank you again @feedmenowbrisbane and @aroundthebendbrisbane). I can’t wait to go back and order one aaaaall for myself.
Having said that I was grateful for my decision because it meant I felt I was able to do dessert justice…and I was excited. From the moment I laid eyes on the menu (reconfirmed when I tasted the Polenta chips) I knew I just had to try the Raspberry and Polenta cake with yoghurt mousse. When it arrived it looked like something you’d find in a country living magazine – rustic and simple and littered with raspberries I dived into it with my and scooped up a massive-berry-popping chunk. The cake itself was so light and moist with that wonderful subtle polenta flavour and just crumbled away. The oozing raspberries made the cake a hit– I’m not usually a huge cake fan as I find them too sweet but the abundance of tart raspberries throughout provided the perfect balance of tartness against the sweet. And don’t even get me started on the yoghurt mousse. It was the PERFECT accompaniment to the cake and a creamy mound of luscious, aerated, tangy goodness that had the texture of mousse and a slightly-citrusy-Greek-yoghurt flavour. Together is was a match made in desserts heaven.
The other ladies at my table enjoyed the Chocolate and walnut cake with double cream (which was gorgeously melt-in-your-mouth-rich with a crunch of texture from the walnuts), the Lemon tart with blackberry compote (pretty as a picture) and an indulgent looking Affogato.
Brisbanites. Do yourselves a favour and when seeking a venue for a high quality meal in a relaxed, slightly more casual setting or a dinner spot pre-or-post movie at the Barracks or if you just want a really scrumptious feed head to The Chelsea Bistro. They’re open 7 days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner and parking is a breeze!
Many thanks again to The Chelsea Bistro, owner Steve Ackerie and The Press Garage who were incredible hosts. I can’t wait to come back and get a full fix of that melt-in-your-mouth-richly-delicious Wagyu…
Have you been to The Chelsea Bistro lately? What’s your favourite meal?